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The culture of the Philippines reflects the country's complex history. It is a blend of the Malayo-Polynesian and Hispanic cultures, with influence from Chinese. The Philippines was first settled by Melanesians; today they preserve a very traditional way of life and culture, although their numbers are few. After them, the Austronesians or more specifically, Malayo-Polynesians, arrived on the islands. Today the Austronesian culture is very evident in the ethnicity, language, food, dance and almost every aspect of the culture. These Austronesians engaged in trading with China, India, Japan, the Ryukyu islands, the Middle East, Borneo, and other places. As a result, those cultures have also left a mark on Filipino culture. When the Spanish colonized the islands, after more than three centuries of colonization, they had heavily impacted the culture. The Philippines being governed from both Mexico and Spain, had received a little bit of Hispanic influence. Mexican and Spanish influence can be seen in the dance and religion many other aspects of the culture. After being colonized by Spain, the Philippines became a U.S. territory for about 40 years. Influence from the United States is seen in the wide use of the English language, and the modern pop culture. Religion The Philippines is one of two predominantly Roman Catholic nations in Asia-Pacific, the other being East Timor. From a census in 2000, Catholics constitute 80.9%, with Aglipayan followers at 2%, Evangelical Christians at 2.8%, Iglesia Ni Cristo at 2.3%, and other Christian denominations at 4.5%. Islam is the religion for about 5% of the population, while 1.8% practice other religions. The remaining 0.6 did not specify a religion while 0.1% are irreligious. Filipino arts Arts of the Philippines cover a variety of forms of entertainment. Folk art and ethnographic art consist of classic and modern features that flourished as a result of European and Indigenous influences. Literature The literature of the Philippines illustrates the Prehistory and European colonial legacy of the Philippines, written in both Indigenous and Hispanic writing system. Most of the traditional literatures of the Philippines were written during the Mexican and Spanish period. Philippine literature is written in Spanish, English, Tagalog, and/or other native Philippine languages. Cuisine Filipinos cook a variety of foods influenced by Western and Asian cuisine. The Philippines is considered a melting pot of Asia. Eating out is a favorite Filipino past time. A typical Pinoy diet consists at most of six meals a day; breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner, and again a midnight snack before going to sleep. Rice is a staple in the Filipino diet, and is usually eaten together with other dishes. Filipinos regularly use spoons together with forks and knives. Some also eat with their hands, especially in informal settings, and when eating seafood. Rice, corn, and popular dishes such as adobo (a meat stew made from either pork or chicken), lumpia (meat or vegetable rolls), pancit (a noodle dish), and lechón (roasted pig) are served on plates. Education Education in the Philippines has been influenced by Western and Eastern ideology and philosophy from the United States, Spain, and its neighbouring Asian countries. Philippine students enter public school at about age four, starting from nursery school up to kindergarten. At about seven years of age, students enter elementary school (6 to 7 years). This is followed

by high school (5 years). Students then take the college entrance examinations (CEE), after which they enter college or university (3 to 5 years). Other types of schools include private school, preparatory school, international school, laboratory high school, and science high school. Of these schools, private Catholic schools are the most famous. Catholic schools are preferred in the Philippines due to their religious beliefs. Most Catholic schools are unisex. The uniforms of Catholic schools usually have an emblem along with the school colors. Performing arts The early music of the Philippines featured a mixture of Indigenous, Islamic and a variety of Asian sounds that flourished before the European and American colonization in the 16th and 20th centuries. Spanish settlers and Filipinos played a variety of musical instruments, including flutes, guitar, ukelele, violin, trumpets and drums. They performed songs and dances to celebrate festive occasions. By the 21st century, many of the folk songs and dances have remained intact throughout the Philippines. Some of the groups that perform these folk songs and dances are the Bayanihan, Filipinescas, Barangay-Barrio, Hariraya, the Karilagan Ensemble, and groups associated with the guilds of Manila, and Fort Santiago theatres. Many Filipino musicians have risen prominence such as the composer and conductor Antonio J. Molina, the composer Felipe P. de Leon, known for his nationalistic themes and the opera singer Jovita Fuentes. Architecture The Nipa hut (Bahay Kubo) is the mainstream form of housing. It is characterized by use of simple materials such as bamboo and coconut as the main sources of wood. Cogon grass, Nipa palm leaves and coconut fronds are used as roof thatching. Most primitive homes are built on stilts due to frequent flooding during the rainy season. Regional variations include the use of thicker, and denser roof thatching in mountain areas, or longer stilts on coastal areas particularly if the structure is built over water. The architecture of other indigenous peoples may be characterized by an angular wooden roofs, bamboo in place of leafy thatching and ornate wooden carvings. The Spaniards introduced stones as housing and building materials. The introduction of Christianity brought European churches, and architecture which subsequently became the center of most towns and cities. Spanish architecture can be found in Intramuros, Vigan, Iloilo, Jaro and other parts of the Philippines. Islamic and other Asian architecture can also be seen depicted on buildings such as mosques and temples.


Agung The agung is a set of two wide-rimmed, verticallysuspended gongs used by the Maguindanao, Maranao and Tausug people of the Philippines as a supportive instrument in kulintang ensembles. The agung is also ubiquitous among other groups found in Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Mindanao, Sabah, Sulawesi, Sarawak and Kalimantan as an integral part of the agung orchestra. Gandingan The gandingan is a Philippine set of four large, hanging gongs used by the Maguindanao as part of their kulintang ensemble. When integrated into the ensemble, it functions as a secondary melodic instrument after the main melodic instrument, the kulintang. When played solo, the gandingan allows fellow Maguindanao to communicate with each other, allowing them to send messages or warnings via long distances. This ability to imitate tones of the Maguindanao language using this instrument has given the gandingan connotation: the “talking gongs.”

Kulintang Kulintang is a modern term for an ancient instrumental form of music composed on a row of small, horizontally-laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums. As part of the larger gongchime culture of Southeast Asia, kulintang music ensembles have been playing for many centuries in regions of the Eastern Malay Archipelago—the Southern Philippines, Eastern Indonesia, Eastern Malaysia, Brunei and Timor,[6] although this article has a focus on the Philippine Kulintang traditions of the Maranao and Maguindanao peoples in particular. Kulintang evolved from a simple native signaling tradition, and developed into its present form with the incorporation of knobbed gongs from Sunda.[5] Its importance stems from its association with the indigenous cultures that inhabited these islands prior to the influences of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity or the West, making Kulintang the most developed tradition of Southeast Asian archaic gong-chime ensembles.